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Deadly viruses lurk in Uganda, Africa

Deadly viruses lurk in Uganda, Africa

Woman died of Crimean-Congo fever: Deadly viruses lurk in Uganda, Africa

Ebola, Marburg fever, or other exotic viral diseases - Uganda is very often affected when an epidemic breaks out in Africa. For the first time, a person has died of Crimean-Congo fever there.

Crimean-Congo fever kills Uganda when serious epidemics break out in Africa. Headlines about an Ebola outbreak, the appearance of the Marburg virus, or the mysterious mental illness that mainly affects children do not seem to want to end in the East African country. Now Crimean-Congo fever (CCHF) has to be counted, a disease that has never existed in this region in such severe form. A 27-year-old woman had already died, three deaths are currently being investigated, another patient is in quarantine and around 50 others in contact with the infected will be monitored.

Only mild form in Africa to date "Never before has anyone in Uganda died of CCHF," said Issa Makumbi, an epidemiology expert from the Ministry of Health. "This proves that it is the serious form of the disease that can lead to death. " So far, there was only the mild form of the tick-borne disease in Africa. So far, the life-threatening form has mainly occurred in Central Asia, in South-East Europe - especially in Turkey - and in the Middle East.

Carrier proven in Germany The death rate of the infected reaches around 18 percent in some countries such as Bulgaria. So far, nobody in Germany has been infected with the potentially fatal tropical disease, but researchers in both Holland and Germany have been able to prove "its vector, the tortoise hyalomma and rhipicephalus, the brown dog tick", according to the German Society for Internal Medicine. V. Illness causes flu-like symptoms such as chills, headache and body aches, and flushing of the face. Internal bleeding and organ failure often result in death.

According to scientists, ticks as carriers of the problem are the steadily increasing number of ticks, which feed primarily on the blood of cows, sheep and goats. "We are very worried," said Makumbi. "In the past, ticks were combated at domestic and domestic animals at the local level, but now it is up to each farmer to act against ticks." If the problem is not addressed at national level, "there is a risk that the disease will spread into an epidemic." People could be infected with the highly contagious Crimean-Congo fever not only from tick bites, but also from eating infected animal meat. Human-to-human transmission occurs through infected saliva or through contact with blood or urine, Vice-Minister of Health Elioda Tumwesigye warned a few days ago: "With the severe form, up to 40 percent of all infected die."

Ebola keeps coming back In addition to the current danger from the Crimean-Congo fever, there is an apparently permanent risk of an Ebola outbreak in the East African country. Outbreaks of Ebola fever have raged in Uganda several times, with more than 200 deaths being recorded in the wake of the worst wave of infections to date. The virus causes so-called hemorrhagic fever in humans (fever disease with bleeding), which results in an agonizing death of the patient in 50 to 90 percent of the cases. Last year, 16 people died of Ebola in the northwestern Kibaale district. Almost simultaneously, five deaths due to Marburg fever from another region were reported. Both diseases are caused by viruses and are similar in their course.

Can Ebola be cured in the future?
Last year, two independent research teams reported for the first time in the journal "Nature" that Ebola was curable in the future. In one of the studies presented, the researchers led by James Cunningham from Harvard Medical School in Boston explained that the protection against Ebola can be built up by switching off a special protein (NPC1). The scientists blocked the protein with the help of a newly developed active ingredient, after which the cells were reliably protected against infection with the Ebola virus. In a study presented in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS), US scientists had also shown that rhesus monkeys, which were injected with antibodies against Ebola shortly after contact with the Ebola viruses, did not respond at all or only very slightly Ebola fell ill. However, all previous treatment approaches are still in the research phase and have yet to prove themselves.

Eating primate meat to blame for spread? Makumbi says he has an explanation for the accumulation of these deadly infectious diseases: "Uganda is located near the Congo Basin, a hotspot for these diseases." Above all, monkeys from the region appear to be carriers of the Ebola virus. Congolese refugees have now introduced the primate meat eating tradition in Uganda. "The consumption of these animals spreads the virus and a plague can spread," says Makumbi. The Ebola virus first appeared in Zaire, today's Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1976. An outbreak occurred in Sudan around the same time The CCHF virus was also isolated from human blood for the first time in the Central African country in 1956. The authorities in Uganda hope that the good early warning systems and the monitoring of possible virus carriers will prevent the virus from spreading further. (Ad)

Image: Cornelia Menichelli / pixelio.de

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Video: Marburg virus kills one person in Africa (September 2020).